Georgia's new truck law: you do the math

| 8/1/2002

Georgia now can run the heaviest tandem-axle loads in the U.S., thanks to recently passed legislation. Heavier concrete trucks now allowed on Georgia's local road system could make roads less safe, say officials. The new law likely will force city and county governments to pay an estimated $1 billion to upgrade roads and bridges.

Georgia Department of Transportation spokesman, Brantley explained that the DOT had lobbied heavily against the bill, but in his opinion, pro-business lawmakers wanted the legislation to foster economic development. The measure now will allow concrete makers to ship product more cheaply to more parts of the state, he said.

Brantley said two-axle trucks that weigh as much as 46,000 pounds, up from a limit of 40,680 now will be allowed on city streets and county roads built for much lighter traffic.

Concrete trucks had limited travel parameters before the bill passed. According to the Atlanta-Journal Constitution's search of political records concrete companies made political donations of $10,350 to bill sponsor Sen. Nathan Dean (D-Rockmart) after the bill was signed into law. Later building and hauling companies chipped in $7,100.

Dean reportedly said his bill initially did not increase weight limits. It was intended to add concrete trucks to a short list of others in the state that could exceed the old 40,680-pound limit when making deliveries. He said the higher weight limits were added later when the bill went through the House.

"Now, everybody wants their truck on that list," says OOIDA's Gary Green. "Just do the numbers, for every eight loads concrete haulers get a free one."

The new limit is expected to save concrete, poultry, construction, logging, feed and mining companies money because they can carry more on each trip. Deputy DOT Commissioner Harold Linnenkohl said he was disappointed with the change. "It will add up to more wear and tear on the roads," he said.